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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  November 30, 2014 5:00pm-6:01pm EST

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covering presidents from gerald ford to barack obama as we talk to ann compton who recently retired as a white house correspondent for abc news. officer wilson said he was stepping down for the safety of other police officers and the community and he hoped his resignation would help the community heal. the ongoing federal investigations into the august 9 shooting. host: this week, in light of the decisions made in ferguson over the michael brown case, the attorney general talked about the status of federal investigations looking at that case. here is what he had to say. > i have been briefed by the
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deputy assistant general and members of my staff. they are overseeing the federal investigations into the shooting of michael brown as well as the investigation we are doing of the ferguson police department. i would emphasize we have two investigations ongoing. as i have said many times before and reiterated in my statement last night, the department's investigation will continue to be thorough. they will continue to be independent. they remain ongoing. they will be conducted rigorously and in a timely manner so we can move forward as expeditiously as we can to restore trust, to rebuild understanding, and foster cooperation between law enforcement and community members. host: joining us to talk about this issue on our set, william yeomans, the former deputy attorney general and former
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acting attorney general for civil rights. he is also a professor at the american university washington college of the law. thank you for joining us. guest: it is a pleasure to be here. ost: why two investigations? guest: one is criminal and one is civil. the first is the possibility of federal civil rights charges. that investigation is roceeding. the attorney general has set it up to be independent of the local investigation. it is an investigation into the possibility of a federal charge that would require the government to show officer wilson shot michael brown with a specific intent to use more force than reasonably necessary under the circumstances. that is a fairly difficult standard to satisfy. not impossible, but difficult.
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the attorney general gave no suggestion of when that investigation might be omplete. you never know where an investigation might lead. that is the first investigation people think about. the second is a civil investigation. that means it would not result in putting anyone in jail. but it could result in significant reform of the ferguson police department. it will look at whether ferguson has engaged in a pattern of practice of violating individuals' federal rights. that can include a wide range of ctivity. from the way the ferguson police department uses force, how they train officers, how the discipline officers, how they relate to the community, whether there is racial profiling involved in how they decide to stop people on the street, all of that. the outcome that will probably happen is the department will complete its investigation.
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it will sit down with ferguson and try to negotiate an agreement that will address the need for change across the board for the ferguson police department. if they reach an agreement, that will probably be entered in court as a dissent decree. host: will department of justice investigators look at the same evidence the grand jury look that? is there other evidence added to that? guest: we don't know what they might find. they will start with the evidence the ferguson grand jury looked at. all of that has been made available to federal investigators. much of that was developed with the fbi working alongside with the local investigators. whether there is more, we don't now at this point. robert mcculloch, the prosecutor, put all of the evidence they had before the
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grand jury, which was an unusual procedure. but all of that evidence is now available. he has made it public, another unusual step. how that affects the federal investigation is unclear. it is not certain the federal government will take its investigation to a grand jury. it could decide to do so if it thinks it has enough evidence. now that all of the evidence from the local grand jury is out there, that means every witness that went into the federal grand jury would have the evidence of the witnesses before, which is not an ideal circumstance for conducting a grand jury. usually you want the witnesses to come in and have to testify about what they saw, heard, and know about the case. there is a natural tendency to adapt one's testimony to what you think others are saying. it is not that people are intentionally misleading. but sometimes there is a natural tendency. that is not ideal.
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host: is the criminal investigation done on the ground in ferguson or out of washington? guest: the lead will be the civil rights division in washington. there is a section in the civil rights division as the criminal prosecutions. they will work with the u.s. attorney's office in st. louis. the fbi will be involved. the investigation takes place on the ground in ferguson. the final decision as to whether or not to go forward will be made in washington. host: the criminal investigation has a high bar. what kind of evidence would they have to look at to make a ifferent conclusion? guest: it is impossible to say what might make the difference. let me say about these investigations that they are difficult. eyewitness testimony is invariably conflicting because these are conflicting circumstances that unfold
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rapidly. it is helpful if you have a videotape. successful prosecutions have turned on videotape. we don't have a videotape. federal investigators will be looking at forensic evidence. they will be looking at the blood, the distances, how people were moving. they will try to reconstruct exactly what happened. they will examine all the witnesses, all of the eyewitnesses, and all of the experts predict will talk to the people that did the autopsies. there were three autopsies. they will probably bring in some of their own experts to evaluate the forensic evidence. the fbi is expert in doing that. it is impossible to say there might be one piece of evidence they could come up with. they will look at the whole situation and decide whether they think there is evidence that would lead a jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that officer wilson reacted with the
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intent to use more force than necessary. host: bill yeomans is here to talk about federal civil rights investigations in light of the ferguson decision. if you have questions about the process, here is your question to ask them. the line for democrats, the line for republicans, the line for ndependents. what is the timeline for these investigations? guest: wise prosecutors never put a time limit on their investigation because you don't know where the evidence will take you and what steps you will have to take. we know a substantial amount of work has been done. the federal government has the advantage of building on that. there has been some suggestion the federal investigation is far along. beyond that, it is hard to say. i would not think it would go on for many months more. host: as an attorney general,
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they don't want to prejudge evidence. what processes are in place? guest: you have very expressed prosecutors doing these cases, people who deal with allegations of excessive force by police all the time and are familiar with how these investigations proceed. they bring a very experienced and wise eye to the evidence. they will be making the judgment as to whether the evidence is there. host: bill yeomans is our guest. questions from you. we start with new jersey on the independent line. caller: good morning. i hope you don't cut me off because there are a few comments i would like to make. first of all, i would like to distinguish between social justice, equal justice, and a pretense at justice.
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to have these civil rights investigations is nothing more than an act of placating. if attorney general holder was really interested in seeking equal justice under the law, he would not have established a too big to jail policy. he would not have engaged in fast and furious. he would not be complicit in the human trafficking going on at our borders. as far as president obama is concerned, if he were really concerned and interested in solving the problems in the african-american community, he would not be using executive orders to allow the streaming of illegal immigrants into our inner cities. host: ok, thanks. guest: i am not here as an
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administration official. i will say it is hard to fault attorney general holder's performance on civil rights. he has been a vigorous supporter of enforcement of the civil rights laws. if you look at the obama administration's record on these cases, the number of prosecutions has increased. what has also increased as the number of civil investigations into police conduct. i think it is a fairly strong record. i am not sure what more the caller would have them do. host: pennsylvania, tom, republican line. go ahead. caller: i think these types of investigations inevitably cloud the facts. the facts of the case are this individual committed a crime and compounded it by trying to assault a police officer trying to arrest him. it is disingenuous for people like al sharpton to be making political mincemeat out of the
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situation because that is ridiculous. we have societal problems that start at the top, one of them being the greed of those that don't want to pay minimum age. when people call in to comment on issues like this, i wish c-span would get in the habit of asking them first, are they registered to vote and do they vote? host: the assertion of clouding effects of these investigations? guest: what i think is important is to recognize what is going on. we all understand the difficult job police officers have. they are put in danger on a regular basis. they have to make quick judgments about difficult decisions. we authorize them to use force and give them weapons. that means there has to be imits on the use of force.
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what cases like this are about is trying to figure out where those limits are. it is important we police the limits or things can get out of control. we have too many shootings in this country, too many police shootings. i think most people would agree. one thing policing experts has done in recent years is do a lot of work on ways to defuse situations, ways to prevent this buildup of tension and anxiety that results inevitably in an outburst of violence. whether it is on the side of the community or on the side of the police, who pull their weapons too quickly. i think this investigation and the other investigations into police conduct are an exercise in trying to make this balance between our need for a safe society, our need to give police officers discretion may need to do their jobs, and the need to
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impose limits on the use of force. host: north carolina, democrats ine, robert. go ahead. caller: this whole thing about ferguson and the policeman, the policeman created this whole thing himself by going along hollering at someone walking long the road. don't come holler at me to get the f off the road. there is a negative and a ositive. when two negatives get together, you will get friction. the cop created the friction himself. guest: i think the caller suggests an important point. one of the police techniques
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that has gained a lot of attention and has been fairly successful as community oriented policing. that is the notion that officers need to be part of the community. they need to be known to the community. they need to be in the community and not in the community as an occupying force. if you have that kind of policing, i think you are far less likely to have the situations arise. they tend to get defused. people have noted one of the problems with ferguson is the police department is overwhelmingly white, and it is policing a majority minority community. majority african-american community. i think there are only three african-american officers on the force of over 50 officers. that sets up a situation where there is a lack of community trust. one of the things the justice department will be looking at is the lack of diversity in the
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ferguson police department. they will look at the hiring practices that have created that lack of diversity. i think it is important to have a police force that looks like the community it is patrolling in order to win the trust of the community. as a way of preventing crime but also as a way of investigating crime. if the community is more willing to cooperate with police, the police will be more effective. host: the end result of the civil investigation, is that a mandate on the ferguson police? whatever they come up with, they have to do it? guest: yeah, there are various ways to do this procedurally in the end. the traditional pattern is the ferguson police department and the justice department will sit down at the end of the investigation to engage in egotiations. the department of justice will have specific things they want ferguson to do. they will have lots of experts in policing working on this. they will lay out their demands
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and talk to ferguson. if they can reach an agreement, the traditional path is to take that to court, have entered as a dissent decree administered by the court. it can last for years while changes are made. host: are you censoring the police department for its actions? guest: what you're doing is improving the department. it is based on past actions. the department of justice will have to find ferguson has engaged in a pattern of violating people's rights. that pattern can depend on any number of things good lack of diversity could be one element of that. the way they engage in patrols on the street. whether they disproportionally target african-americans and law enforcement activities, whether they adequately train officers on the use of force.
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host: do police unions come into this negotiation? guest: they have to be involved so they will have buy-in in the end. the successful implementation of reforms will depend on the cooperation of the police. host: bill yeomans has looked at these things firsthand, not only at the department of justice, but also as a teacher in washington, here to talk about the process of civil rights investigations. michael from imperial beach, california, you are on next. go ahead. caller: i was wondering if you could explain to us regular people about grand juries. i have gotten jury duty butters, showed up, got no pay. i have heard grand jury people get paid and are on for months at a time. how does the system figure out who is going to get a letter saying you are able to serve on a grand jury? thank you, sir.
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guest: grand jury selection is controlled by state law and varies somewhat. it is the same way people get selected for regular juries in court. the jurisdiction will use voter olls, statistics, all of that, and come up with a list of people available to serve on a grand jury. the selection tends to be andom. if you get one of those letters, it is the luck of the draw. let me say a couple of words about grand juries. one is grand juries sit for a long time. they can sit for months. they hear more than one case. a grand jury will sit often once a week. the prosecutor will use that same grand jury to present a number of different criminal cases over the course of their service.
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in the course of one session, they may be hearing evidence about several different cases. the usual grand jury practice is very different from the way this grand jury was conducted. usually prosecutors are very much in charge. the prosecutor brings in a couple of witnesses, usually police officers who summarize the evidence. it is presented to the grand jury. the prosecutor presents an indictment, urges the adoption of the indictment, and the grand jurors vote. in this case, the prosecutor simply presented all of the evidence. did not take a stand on whether or not there should be an indictment. that process has been praised and criticized. the criticism has gotten less notice. it is a very unusual thing to do. it throws and all the evidence hat my command to a trial, but it doesn't without the advocacy framework we usually have in
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trials. there is no attorney on one side arguing that side and one on the other side arguing that side. there are no defense lawyers in the grand jury. there is the prosecutor. if the prosecutor is not taking a position, the grand jury can be a little at sea, i think. this is a procedure that is unusual and has come under criticism. host: this is off of twitter. how often does the d.o.j. find it necessary to investigating officer? guest: i don't have a number of how often d.o.j. investigates, but there are a lot of shootings. the fbi's most recent statistics show 461 police killings in the last year. everyone acknowledges that is underreported because it depends on voluntary reporting from local jurisdictions. the number is probably at least double that.
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of that number, the vast majority are justified. it is a fairly small number that get sent through the serious criminal investigation process. all of them are investigated. every department investigate shootings. the local prosecutor looks to see if there's something that needs to be pursued. the justice department is overseeing the process to see if there needs to be further investigation. host: he follows up by saying, is ferguson an outlier? guest: i would not say an outlier. it got a lot of attention. on its face, it looks like a tragedy. it is a tragedy. it is natural for there to be follow-up by local investigators and the federal government. host: to follow up on your point you were making about the grand jury, the "washington post" said almost 100% of the time grand juries indict people they are investigating.
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guest: in the overwhelming majority, there is an indictment because the prosecutor is suggesting indictment. the prosecutor will lay the indictment before the grand jury and have them government. hat did not happen here. apparently, the prosecutor laid out five possible indictments and did not urge the grand jury to go with any of those. some said that sent a strong signal the prosecutor did not want an indictment because it differs so radically from the way that grand jury had been dealing with other cases. host: here is ruby in missouri, democrats line. we do have a line for missouri residents. o ahead. you are on the phone, go ahead. caller: yes! host: ruby, i'm going to put you on hold. we will have you turn down your t.v. and come back to you. we will go to dan in florida.
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go ahead. caller: i have a couple of things. my heart goes out to the victims of any crime, whether the police or the public. i feel bad for the family. when does it come to a point when social media should not blow everything out of proportion trying to get a story? where does it get to a point where people inflame the rights and create the situations to where business people are the ones who pay the price for the social unrest? naacp, sharpton, and jackson, they rush in and start sensationalizing. it causes social unrest. i'm wondering there never looked at as inciting civil disobedience when it comes down to the beginning of the process, even before the legal process has not even get to a point where they can find fault one ay or the other.
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host: thanks, caller. guest: your first point about social media. obviously, we are living in a new age when social media has enormous impact and can help create a story. i think the role of investigators is to move beyond social media and look at the evidence as developed by the investigators. while social media may make something a story, it is the task of investigators and prosecutors to make sure the media do not create a prosecution. your point about people coming in and talking about the situation, i think it is important to remember the important roles civil rights advocates and others play in talking about social justice and helping us to draw lessons from these incidents that may help us become a stronger society. now obviously, when people cross over into violence, that is something no one should condone.
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i certainly don't. but i do think it is important we allow the expression of opinion on these important issues. what we have here is a situation where this one tragic incident has been used by people to try to draw broader lessons about our society and urge people to undertake broader action. i think that is perfectly appropriate. host: let's hear from ruby again
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in missouri, democrats line. caller: yes, i am concerned because police officers have been killing african-american men since they developed police officers. it is nothing new in the south. even in the west and east, police officers always kill black men. you are dead, it is your fault. you are a young black man doing something instead of white america realizing this is what police officers have been doing since the beginning of time. it is fact. it is part of the klan. they are probably still officers undercover. it is sad no one is seeing the bigger picture. host: what you base those accusations on? caller: on fact. back in the 1950's and 1930's, police officers have been killing black men with a badge. host: mr. yeomans? guest: there is no question that in our country, we have had a problem with police officers
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killing african-american men. we still have a problem. one of the broader lessons we have to take from this incident is we need to figure out ways to stop the killing or at least minimize it. i think there is no question there is a racial element to much of what goes on here. we see in ferguson a very stark contrast between the police department and community. i think bringing diversity to the police department is hugely important. i also think it is important, as the caller suggests, that we focus on broader issues that are olored by our history. host: judy from idaho, independent line, your next. caller: i would like to ask if the civil rights investigation
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is going to extend to the casualness of this investigation, the lack of measurement, the lack of photos, letting the officer take his gun home with him that night. not photographing his hands, and things like that. that was incredibly sloppy. i am wondering if this is the usual way they investigate in ferguson. host: we also have a viewer off of twitter who asks a similar question about how the federal investigation will employ the existing investigation. guest: on the sloppy investigation, there do seem to be procedures that should have been followed that were not. the federal government will be looking at that. for purposes of the criminal investigation, those things will only be significant if somehow they affect the evidence relevant to whether or not a
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crime was committed. but all that information will go into the civil investigation which will broadly at how the ferguson police department conducts itself and its investigations. host: we are talking with bill yeomans, a former deputy attorney general and former acting attorney general for civil rights. have you done these investigations before? guest: i have supervised many. host: what have you learned? what is facing those on the ground in missouri now? guest: they are incredibly omplex investigations. the eyewitness testimony tends to be very unreliable in these types of incidents. a shooting on the street comes out of nowhere. people start reconstructing what they think happened. in many instances, convince themselves they saw what they think about afterwards. host: mr. mccolloch referenced that any testimony about hands
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p. guest: it is a real phenomenon. that is why the tangible evidence is so important, forensic evidence, videotape. i cannot emphasize enough how important a videotape can be. one of the big cases a lot of people know about was the rodney king case. those officers were initially acquitted in state court and were prosecuted in federal court. four officers were prosecuted. only two were convicted. they were convicted because there was a videotape taken by a bystander. during the trial was the process of dissecting blow-by-blow whether or not it was necessary and whether or not rodney king was compliant at the time force was used. videotape can be extremely helpful. the other thing that is very helpful and does not exist in this case is if you can get ther members of the police
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department to testify about what they saw as they were on the scene. frequently, you run into the phenomenon that police officers protect their own, which can be admirable in the field but impede an investigation. you can run into the blue wall of silence, so it is necessary to try to get police officers to cooperate in the investigation. if you can do that, you can sometimes break these cases. in the absence of that type of cooperation and a videotape, in he absence of compelling forensic evidence, these are tough cases. host: harrisburg, pennsylvania, rose is next for our guest. caller: good morning. i am a republican. but i consider myself to be a fair republican. the thing with me is why was this officer not having to use a taser gun?
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he said he was not using a taser gun because it was too heavy. come on. if you are an officer, you are supposed to be able to handle equipment. the whole thing to me tinks. just because i am a republican and i feel republicans are insensitive every time things like this happen, but this is my opinion. the whole ferguson law system, it is injustice! guest: i think it is a good point to suggest this case is an example of why we need alternatives to lethal force that police officers can resort to in these types of incidents. tasers can be valuable. they are not always the answer. more important is for officers to understand how to diffuse the situation before any significant use of force is necessary.
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there may have been possibilities to do that in this case. but they were not used. host: does the martin family, after the investigations, does it in tribute to a civil case if they file one? guest: if the brown family -- host: apologies. guest: if the brown family wants to file a civil case, they can do that. the irregularities we talked about can be brought up in the civil case. the civil case will depend on the same kinds of evidence being looked at in the criminal investigation. once again, in the civil case, there will be a variety of possible state law grounds for the civil case. there could also be a federal civil case they could file, a civil claim they could file. once again, they will have to overcome this notion that officer wilson was acting reasonably to protect himself. host: atlanta, georgia, john, go ahead. caller: i wanted to make mention of the fact of bringing out the information late at night rather
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than at a more convenient time. it seems to me he was doing that so that rioters would not come out and take away from the process as far as him exploiting the grand jury. i don't think that was right. i would also like to thank all
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the white folks that come out when something like this happens to put their lives on the line. i think the conservatives need to re-examine themselves. they seem to be the lawless ones. thank you. guest: the timing of the announcement i find curious. we know most of the lawless behavior, i hasten to add most of the behavior in ferguson was not lawless, the protesters were exercising their first amendment rights. but there was a lawless element. if it was going to come out, it was going to come out at night. by this was not done in the morning, i don't know. host: we have a little of mr. mccolloch talking about the vidence presented. >> witnesses made statements inconsistent with other statements they made and conflicting with the physical evidence. some were completely refuted by physical evidence. as an example, before the results of the private autopsy eleased, witnesses on social media during interviews with the media, and even during questioning by law enforcement, claimed they saw officer wilson stand over michael brown and fire many rounds into his back.
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others claimed officer wilson shot mr. brown in the back as mr. brown was running away. however, once the autopsy findings were released showing michael brown had not sustained any wound to the back of his body, no additional witnesses made such a claim. several witnesses adjusted their stories in subsequent statements. some even admitted they did not witness the event at all but merely repeated what they heard in the neighborhood or assumed it happened. fortunately for the integrity of our investigation, almost all initial witness interviews, including those of officer wilson, were recorded. host: you have probably been in situations where testimony began at one point and totally changed later on. guest: absolutely. it happens. it is the phenomenon i mentioned earlier of people adapting their statements to fit what they have heard or think may have appened.
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that is a dangerous thing. that is why it is important to have a thorough investigation. it is also important to subject witnesses to a form of cross examination. one of the things that did not happen in this grand jury was the kind of questioning one might expect from a vigorous prosecutor. officer wilson testified for four hours. that is very unusual in the grand jury. it is unusual the target of the grand jury comes in to testify at all. a prosecutor who was being aggressive would have taken advantage of his presence. i am not sure that was done here. if you look at the transcript, the questioning is fairly gentle. the eyewitness testimony can be all over the place in these cases. hat is what you have to come
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caller: i was calling regarding this case in south carolina. there was a gentleman about 68 years old, his name was ernest satterwhite. he was shot in his driveway five times. they shot through the car door. the police officers said he ried to grab my gun. there were other police officers therefrom a different county. they did not see this appen. they sent out an investigator. they did not believe the police officer's story. the da suggested voluntary manslaughter. the grand jury came back and indicted him for a misdemeanor. this is the kind of thing that people in the black community look at.
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this man was shot for nothing. bsolutely nothing. guest: i'm not familiar with the details of that incident. in instances where a state brings charges against a police officer, the federal government can still decide to pursue when investigation and a prosecution. if it thinks the federal interest in justice has not been vindicated. i do not know whether the federal government is looking at he case. host: this is larry from missouri. go ahead. caller: i heard one of the legal commentators talking about that there was a supreme court ruling
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in a case in tennessee that had to be probable cause overshadowing the police officer saying that life was in ear. would like the professor to elaborate on that. if you knows is talking about. dealing with the witnesses that may have saw michael brown with his hands up, if there are various witnesses and some of hem were at different times, his hands may have been up. after he started getting shot, his hands would. could the professor elaborate on hat? guest: the supreme court has said that an officer can be justified in using force if he has a reasonable belief that his and safety or the safety of others is in danger.
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that is the overriding element to these investigations. whether that is here or not is what this investigation is really about. the witnesses who said that he had his hands up, there were several. robert mcculloch suggested some of them had either recanted their testimony or their testimony was inconsistent with the physical evidence. i'm sure the federal investigation is looking closely at those witnesses and comparing their testimony to the physical evidence. host: chris in alabama off twitter who makes the comment -- do these incidents suggest it will be widespread change? guest: absolutely. there is a real movement to that.
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especially for smaller jurisdictions, it can impose a real financial burden. in large metropolitan police departments, it can as well. everyone recognizes that they are vital for the protection of community and police officers. who frequently face spurious charges. host: we heard about federal funds being used for military style equipment. guest: they could. it would be a good way to o. most police departments would be much better served by body cameras that armored personnel carriers. host: from florida, john up next. republican line. caller: good morning. thanks for taking the call. professor, good morning. i have two very distinct questions for you. the first is, when can a
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civilian attack a uniformed olice officer? second, the guy who was apparently the stepfather said "burn this thing down." what charges will be brought against him? the idea that anybody can attack -- that's not the way i was brought up. a police is in charge of the scene. any scene. the idea that you can go up and verbally and man hand -- where does that come from? thank you. i appreciate your concept of hat i'm talking about. guest: i think it is safe to say that nobody should ever physically attack a police officer. it is a violation of the law. the verbal confrontations can be a different story.
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one of the things that we frequently get is conflicting stories about what was actually said between a police officer and the member of the community. those conversations have to be examined carefully. it is impossible to reconstruct exactly what was said. we do put a burden on our police officers to not escalate a verbal confrontation into a physical confrontation. how did this get going? what was said? how did the physical confrontation get started? as far as the statements of the stepfather after the grand jury ecision was announced. obviously, it can be problematic in a violation of law to incite iolence.
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in evaluating whether or not to pursue prosecution, it's important to take into account the circumstances. whether the incitement had any effect. to understand the circumstances of that person who is speaking at the time. this is a man feeling enormous passion. i don't know whether there will be any follow-up or not. host: from florida as well. emocrats line. caller: there is a great segue into one of the statements that i need to make. there was a guy six calls back who talked about sharpton and jackson and stuff. i would bet my lunch that he will be one of the first ones to come out and say that we need -- for some people, the constitution does not work. in officer wilson's tv
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interview, he said the situation escalated when he received a barrage of punches sitting in his car. it is hard for me to imagine someone the size of brown throwing punches through a window. there is not a barrage of punches. i would like your guest to comment on that. guest: obviously, i have not tried to re-create the ability to punch. it is a curious situation. the thought that he was assaulting and intimidating officer wilson while officer wilson sat inside his car. it makes you think there may ave been alternatives.
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beyond that, it's hard to say much at this point. some people might suggest put the window up or drive on it and call for help. f the threat was imminent, officer wilson would still be entitled to respond with force. host: one more call. dave from michigan. independent line. aller: a question for your person there. nothing was ever said about what could have been escalated to the oint beyond what it did. that would be when the officer actually -- wilson feared for his life to the point of the security of his vehicle, in order to -- before his backup arrived. i'm curious if that was looked at.
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was the point where if wilson was overcome by mr. brown, hether the car could have been overcome and escalated to the point of way beyond what it did. guest: i'm not sure there was any danger of further escalation. officer wilson -- michael brown ran away after the first two shots were fired. officer wilson was able to get out of his car. the shooting occurred at some distance from the car. i'm not sure how the car would have come back into play. host: when these cases are concluded by the justice department, will there be a final report or press conference? guest: i suspect in this case the justice department will try to be as transparent as ossible.
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in the usual criminal investigation, there is no announcement made. there will be an announcement in this case. the other question is whether the federal government will give access to the evidence that was developed in its investigation. one way it does do that in civil rights cases is that it writes a losing memo. that memo is generally available with names redacted. i suspect that process will be carried through. host: thanks for your time. to conclude our program today, we will have a short session for open phones. s >> national retail federation looks at how businesses fared on black friday.
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discusses the organization political and legislative agenda for the next congress. >> potential for congress to restore tax breaks before the end of the year. we'll take your calls and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> members of congress return from their thaverages giving recess tomorrow. they gavel in at 2:00 p.m. eastern. one item includes funding the government past december 11, which is when current funding expires. here is more about that and what to expect on capitol hill. >> congress returns on monday for a 10-day sprint to the finish, the finish of the 113th
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congress and first of all let's talk about the deadline of december 11 to get that the budget bill done, the spending bill. where do we stand on that? >> >> as we head into the thanks giving weekend. negotiations are ongoing between house and senate. subcommittee chairmen are getting the bills completed. the last i heard is there is a meeting scheduled for december 1 of the top level negotiators on both the house and senate side in trying to get the final details ironed out on some of those bills. of course, the potential problem is even if the work product of the committee gets completed, then there is the political considerations that need to be had as to whether or not that bill actually makes it to the floors of both the house and the senate. certainly that may be
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complicated, particularly in the house, by what they decide to do in response to president obama's executive actions on immigration. so the committee is trying to create a product, sort of separate from the political situation in hopes that it actually makes it to the floor. >> understand that house minority leader has said, nancy pelosi has said she is not going to -- the republicans shouldn't count on democrats support on getting a spending measure passed especially dealing with immigration. >> right. this is the so-called a different approach. funding most of the government for the fiscal year and somehow in a way that is not defined, carve out funding either for homeland security or immigration programs in particular to try d avoid funding effectively,
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the implementation of the president's executive action. doing that in a funding appropriation bill is difficult to do. while you can. in a memo from the congressional research service that was just circulated by jeff sessions of alabama, it's difficult to do perhaps through the normal course, but there are ways that you could cause sort of restrictions on the funding or restrictions on the funding itself. you can't do it through the normal sort of the run of the mill appropriations process and that would need to be worked out if anyone on the house side. >> you introduced this new term, a combination of the continuing resolution and the omnibus spending measures. let's hear from hall rodgesers and he said congress must fight
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this executive order that will enact real changes. he said it shouldn't be included in any sort of appropriations measure. >> right. the argument from chairman rogers and like-minded lawmakers is that that is a separate debate for legislative debate from something that should be tied to this appropriations bill. and it is true that it is certainly difficult to do it through the regular process and the other thing is, particularly that there is this also reality that if the government were to shut down, that is to say if there is no deal by the 11th of december that some of it would be still going on when it comes to president obama's immigration action because there are user fees that people have when they apply for immigration status that would be funding this program.
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and even that gets a little bit complicated and a difficult question to see how you would go about doing. >> a couple of last things. the tax extenders tax package reports late in the week there is a package developing in the house and senate coming next week and the president reportedly will veto that. what do you know of that? >> the package that was sort of circulating around early the week of thanksgiving was that a deal that seemed to be coming together between harry reid, the democrat and house republicans and the white house was quick to announce there would be the intention of vetoing it. it is going back to the drawing board and where things will stand when we come back from thanksgiving. but that is an item that if a
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deal is reached, will quickly make it to the floor as both the house and the senate, because it should be getting done before the end of the year and the kind of measure when it lingers around for a long time, people tend to get more opposed to it. >> you are writing about a contentious le nominations. is the senate going to spend time on the nominations? >> i think it's probably true. other than this government-funding bill and the tax extenders' package and possibly a defense authorization bill that most of the senate schedule is going to be dedicated to getting as many nominees through the confirmation as possible before the process resets with the new congress, which of course, with the republicans coming into power and becoming the majority and controlling the gavel in the
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nat, that would be a taller order and i think everyone knows that. and the democrats are trying to get as many as they can. >> read more at thanks for the look ahead. >> thank you. >> here are a few of the comments we received from our viewers. >> i must say, "washington journal," first thing in the morning, absolutely wonderful. very informtive. i appreciate you guys letting people, such as myself actually call in and sometimes even talk to people who are learning our country and our world. >> good job. just laying it out on the table for everybody to see and not using any prenchshal treatment
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on the information. and giving us americans a chance to evaluate and check everything out. i appreciate you all. keep up the good work. thank you. >> i enjoy c-span 1, 2 and 3 and i watch it off and on all day long. i'm at home and i like to see what's going on and you make it veept for me to know what's going on. >> i have been watching c-span since its inception, since the 1980's, i think. is my almost only source of civil, intelligent unbiased programming. is also my post-college education. i watch it on three different channels in west palm beach, florida. and i don't know what i would do without it, because the regular
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network programming is so biased. with logic or fact and it gets to be unbearable. i don't know what i would do without c pan span. i love it. it's on my tv all day long. >> continue to let us know what you think about the programs you are watching. >> newsmakers is next. head of the u.s. agency for national development. edit :00, a conversation with calypso


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